The Centre for a Democratic Iran: "Khamenei is the Main Obstacle to a Nuclear Deal for Iran"

Jul 07, 2015, 15:33 ET from Centre for a Democratic Iran

NEW YORK, July 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

As Iran and world powers missed the June 30 deadline for a final nuclear agreement and then gave themselves until 7 July, which has again been extended, one may wonder why 12 years of negotiations on the crisis have not yet produced a result, and that, what exactly the parties involved are still haggling about.

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The Centre for a Democratic Iran, a non-profit organisation whose mission is to promote and pursue an independent, peaceful and democratic Iran, followed these events with great interest. CDI Founder, Behrooz Behbudi, offered his thoughts: 

On the face of it, we are told that technical matters about limiting Iran's nuclear research and uranium enrichment levels, the exact timing of lifting of international sanctions after a deal, and the scope of UN atomic agency's inspection of Iranian nuclear and military sites are the remaining stumbling blocks to a final agreement.

True as these items might be, however, a major "invisible" obstacle that has always been present at every level of talks over this international crisis is the Islamic republic's supreme leader ayatollah Khamenei, whose paranoia of "the enemy" (read US and Israel) has never dissipated.

When last week Khamenei drew his "red lines" for a final nuclear agreement by demanding the "immediate lifting of all sanctions as soon as a deal is signed," he knew very well that this demand, contrary to the terms of the Lausanne agreement of April, will only complicate the efforts of Iranian and Western diplomats trying to meet the deadline of June 30. Nevertheless, he disregarded it.

The "Joint Statement" of Lausanne on April 2 clearly says that EU and US sanctions will be lifted "simultaneously with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran has kept its key nuclear commitments."

The same statement says that Iran will apply the "Additional Protocol" that allows IAEA inspectors to enter any sites, not just those that Tehran decides to declare.

In his speech, however, Khamenei said: "Inspection of our military sites is out of question and is one of our red lines."

He also said "freezing Iran's research and development for a long time - like 10 or 12 years - is not acceptable."

In parallel with every foreign and domestic policy that the self-declared moderate President Hassan Rouhani has been taking to get Iran out of the socio-economic calamities of the Ahmadinejad rule, one can clearly see a deliberate hardline policy by Khamenei to derail them, however minimal Rouhani's efforts, given his ideological allegiance to the regime.

"With regard to negotiating with the West, I am a revolutionary, not a diplomat," Khamenei once publicly said when revealing his true colour about the nuclear talks.

In his speech to the Majles deputies on the occasion of the Persian New Year in March, Khamenei said: "It is not that once we arrive at an agreement with the West, US and the Zionists on our nuclear program they will leave us alone. No, we must await other serial issues to be raised by them such as the state of human rights, gender equality and so on…. So, we must be very vigilant as the moment we give in an inch to these demands they will come after all our other values."

The "values" that Khamenei is referring to are obviously those of a small minority of an oligarch of ultra conservative clerics, the Revolutionary Guard commanders and senior intelligence officers who make up the Islamic republic's repressive leadership structure and have nothing to do with the values and inspirations of the Iranian people.

To Khamenei and the circle of his military and political associates, solving a nuclear standoff with the West might be a question of how to continue to maintain their grip to power and save their face after a deal with US, the scapegoat for decades of their repressive and calamitous rule.

In other words, Iran's hardliners, led by Khamenei, want us to believe that the end of the nuclear crisis will not change anything in Iran and that their authoritarian and repressive rule will continue unchallenged.

However, to the millions of Iranians a just deal with the international community is just the beginning of a new chapter in their struggle for prosperity, freedom, human rights and equality. 


SOURCE Centre for a Democratic Iran